by Richard Sheridan
White Sulphur Springs Baptist Church
On Sunday July 22, 1984 the 130 year Anniversary Celebration at White Sulphur Baptist Church
booklets were prepared with a history of the church to serve as mementos of that day.
The following information came from one of those booklets.
What led to the organization of the church was a preacher (Elijah Stephens)
a meeting in the White Sulphur School House on the Richey land. They met at
same school house and organized the church on September 8, 1854.
The first meeting was opened by an appropriate address given by Elder Collin Hodge.
Elder Joel E. Grace was then called to the chair. The Presbytery was then organized
consisting of the Presbytery and Delegations from Caldwell Springs, Donaldson, and
various other churches. The following brethern and sisters presented letters as follows:
J. M. Morse; John T. Guess; Jessie George; Mary T. George; John R. Guess; George
and Jane Guess. (These seven (7) were the charter members)
* The abstract Principles were then called for, received and adopted.
* The Church Covenant was then called for, received and adopted.
Prayer was given by Joel E. Grace. The Presbytery then proceeded to pronounce
independent church to be known as White Sulphur Springs Baptist Church.
Joel E. Grace, Moderator; John S. Pruett, Church Clerk; Collin Hodge, Presbytery.
The doors of the Church were then opened for the reception of members. September 9,
the next day after the church was organized. Angeline Guess and Isabel S. Guess
and were baptized that same day.
The church was holding their services at the White Sulphur School House.
Sam Craig, who was a Presbyterian, heard that the people wanted a church building.
He gave the church the deed to the Craig land, where the first church was built, and
a liberal offering.
The first church building was built in January 1850. Most of the lumber was given by
people who lived near. The church building was plastered on the inside. The frame
hewed by hand and weatherboarded with yellow poplar. In July 1858 the church agreed
to pay, the next March, the debt of $ 262.95 which was due for the building of the
This church building was used until 1909, when a new frame house was built on the same
site but larger than the old one. This building was used until 1950, when the
In February 1858 the church elected the first deacons. Brothers G. R. Guess; J. M. Morse
and J. R. Guess were chosen. The ordination of these deacons was held on Saturday before
the fourth sabbath in March.
The first clerk was J. R. Guess, and he served approximately ten (10) years.
The first death was John R. Guess on February 7, 1873.
Thursday the sixteenth day of August 1855 the church agreed to administer the
Lord's Supper three (3) times a year. It was to be administered on the third
sabbath in September, January, and May.
In June 1858 the church started collecting for Home Missions.
The first Sunday School Superintendent was elected in May 1868. W. C. Lander was
appointed to fill this office. J. M. Morse was appointed as his assistant.
In September 1869 William Forlines was granted a letter of dismission.
He requested that a committee of J. R. Guess; A. M. Cocrill; J. T. Guess,
W. C. Lander; and G. R. Guess to assist in the constitution of a church to
be known as Lebanon. His request was granted.
The minutes show that there have been a few black members of White
Sulphur Baptist Church.
In May 1870 a committee of two was appointed to secure one acre
of land for a cemetery to be paid for by the church.
In Oct. 1871 the church agreed to buy the first hymn books.
They were going to purchase one dozen of these books.
Note: Information researched by ------
Shelia Cartwight Brennan
James I. (Jockey) Cartwright